If you are looking for family movie reviews for parents, this is the place. Crunchy Reviews provides parental movie reviews for kids being raised by parents who care what their children are exposed to. Parent movie reviews, by parents as concerned as you; movie reviews children and their parents can rely on to help them avoid content that is inappropriate for their family. And check out our book reviews, too!

Hotel for Dogs

      This is a review of the movie "Hotel for Dogs" for parents. We were very pleasantly surprised by this movie, as given the subject, we'd expected a lot more potty humour than there actually was. Yes, there is the requisite "humour" ...
             Review Type: Live Action,Movies, Posted by:

This is a review of the movie “Hotel for Dogs” for parents. We were very pleasantly surprised by this movie, as given the subject, we’d expected a lot more potty humour than there actually was. Yes, there is the requisite “humour” about dog poop, but not nearly so much as we’d feared, and mostly (although not always) in the context of the really cool inventions that one of the children comes up with.

The story is, basically, that a brother and sister in foster care seem to always be in and out of trouble. In the opening scene, they scam a pawn shop (so they are essentially stealing – be warned), and are quickly caught. Their social worker bails them out and it becomes clear that the kids are close to being bounced from their 4th or 5th foster home, and this time, they may have to be split up, if they don’t get their act together.

To compound things, they have been hiding their family dog the entire time that they have been in foster care. The up side of this plot line is that it shows a fierce commitment to caring for one’s pets.

As they are trying to find a new place to hide their dog, they end up following him into the spooky, old, abandoned hotel, where they find two other dogs hiding, and thus the idea is born.

This movie does have a strong theme of doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, which may require having a discussion about that with your children, depending on their age and your own family values.

The ending is delightful, if predictable.

Again, we were pleasantly surprised at how relatively appropriate this movie was – in fact, as between Hotel for Dogs, which is rated PG, and The Tale of Desperaux, which is inexplicably rated only G, I’d definitely go with Hotel for Dogs – in fact, the ratings should be switched.

Hotel for Dogs [Theatrical Release]

'Romeo' Plush Dog from Hotel For Dogs

'Cooper' Plush Dog from Hotel For Dogs

'Lenny' Plush Dog from Hotel For Dogs


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Marley and Me

      I'm going to tell you right off the bat that we have not gone to see Marley and Me (although I have read the book), and I'm going to tell you why.
             Review Type: Live Action,Movies, Posted by:

First, this is a min-review – I need to tell you right off the bat that we have not gone to see Marley and Me (although I have read the book), and I’m going to tell you why.

Because Marley dies. He dies in the book, and he dies at the end the movie.

It’s that simple. Yes, it’s the circle of life, and yes, all good things must come to an end, and all dogs go to heaven, or, at least, die.

But if I wanted to take my son to a movie where he falls in love with the lead character only to have it die at the end… well, I wouldn’t. At least not in all its cinematic glory, on the big screen – no matter how tactfully it’s handled.

There are other reasons, according to reliable reports, such as arguing between the couple, the couple trying to conceive (not on-screen, of course, but impliedly), but the main reason we will not go see it is because the dog dies.

And that, primarily, is what concerned parents want to know about the movie Marley and Me. So now you know. He dies.

Marley & Me [Theatrical Release]


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Bolt

      The movie Bolt was a surprise. Unlike The Tale of Desperaux, which was an unpleasant surprise, Bolt was actually a pleasant surprise!
             Review Type: Animated,Movies, Posted by:

The movie Bolt was a surprise. Unlike The Tale of Desperaux, which was an unpleasant surprise, Bolt was actually a pleasant surprise!

Here’s the thing to know about Bolt – the opening scene appears to be violent – ‘bad’ people chasing a little girl and her dog, then the dog turns and unleashes his super bark on the bad people, and they get bowled over.

But you very quickly realize that this is a scene being filmed for the television series in which the girl and the dog star, and the scene is over in moments. In fact, if you were concerned about it, you could simply miss the first two or three minutes of the film, and explain to your child that the dog thinks he has super powers because in the television show he does.

The rest of the movie was not only unobjectionable, but quite enjoyable. Again, we were pleasantly surprised.

There is some very mild potty humour, and there are a couple of sad moments (but they quickly resolve, they are only temporarily sad) and at the end there is an intense scene where the girl really is trapped in a fire – that could be scary for younger children, although you can, again, let them know that everything will be fine.

And it really will be.

Bolt [Theatrical Release]


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The Tale of Despereaux

      Everyone knows that movies are never as good as the book, but we were willing to take a chance on The Tale of Despereaux because, well, because it's so rare for a G movie to come out, and because the story has such ...
             Review Type: Animated,Movies, Posted by:

Everyone knows that movies are never as good as the book, but we were willing to take a chance on The Tale of Despereaux because, well, because it’s so rare for a G movie to come out, and because the story has such potential. The Tale of Despereaux is a charming book; unfortunately it was a less charming movie.

About movies not being as good as the book – in this case, the movie completely rewrote the book! They not only strayed, but they added things from the very start. In fact, they changed the story in some very fundamental ways, including adding a genie made of vegetables who becomes one of the stories co-heros!

In addition, this movies was far more violent and intense than it should have been with a G rating. Yes, we are on the extreme end (that’s why you trust our reviews), but many other parents I know who are less extreme agreed that this movie should have been rated PG at the very least. There are several fantasy scenes of knights battling a dragon, and in one fantasy scene a large scaffolding falls on some bad guys, squashing them flat.

There is also a scary scene where Despereaux is forced to face an enormous attack cat in a gladiator ring, and later in the movie the princess is dragged, hog-tied, into the gladiator ring so that the rats can eat her.

In all, this movie was a huge disappointment. People who have not read the book, and who don’t mind exposing their children to some animated violence, may not care, but all others should steer clear.


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The Watchmen

      This was a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE movie!  It is really really NOT appropriate for people of any ages in my opinion.  The violence was over the top gratuitous, including violence involving a child, a rape attempt and shooting of a pregnant woman and a ...
             Review Type: Live Action,Movies, Posted by:

This was a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE movie!  It is really really NOT appropriate for people of any ages in my opinion.  The violence was over the top gratuitous, including violence involving a child, a rape attempt and shooting of a pregnant woman and a pretty graphic depiction of President Kennedy’s assasination.  There may have been more but I walked out 45 minutes before the end of the movie and seriously wanted to throw up.  None of the characters were sympathetic so that the hour and a half I did see, I didn’t much care about anyone.  The plot was all over the place but I’ve been told it comes together in the end.  I wanted to scrub my brain afterwards and ask for that hour and a half of my life back.  Very disturbing.

Please don’t be fooled by the “superhero” comic book thing and make the mistake of taking your children really of any age.  I personally don’t think it’s appropiate for humans.   I don’t know when I have ever seen a movie that actually made me angry all the way into the next day.


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Madagascar 2

      Madagascar 2 was a huge disappointment. Not only is it full of violence, but it generally is a poorly done movie. As is so often the case, the sequel doesn't come close to the original.
             Review Type: Animated,Movies, Posted by:

Madagascar 2 was a huge disappointment. Not only is it full of violence, but it generally is a poorly done movie. As is so often the case, the sequel doesn’t come close to the original.

The premise of the movie is that after the animal friends lifted off in the airplane (which is how the original ended) they crash land in Africa and, by amazing coincidence, they land right where Alek’s parents’ live. Alek’s father is the king of the pride, and it turns out that while infant Alek was in his care, hunters had kidnapped him. This explains how he ended up in the New York City zoo. His parents of course thought he was dead.

Now, here is Alek, returned from the dead, and his parents are overjoyed.

But of course, there is a bad guy, who wants to take over as the leader, and the bad guy points out to Alek’s parents that Alek must still go through the rite of passage like any other cub, even though he is grown up now. That rite of passage is a fight.

And bad guy makes sure that Alek ends up fighting the biggest, meanest lion there is.

In addition to this fight, the little old lady from the first movie (the one who clobbered Alek in Grand Central Station) is back, and they engage in several fights.

In fact, at the end, the little old lady beats up the bad guy.

This movie is so violent and scary in some points that a little girl seated a few seats away from me started crying.

There is also a fair amount of innuendo, as Gloria (the hippo) meets a group of hippos and the biggest male takes a fancy to her. There is way too much “uh huh, I like em big – I like you because you’re sooo big”, purred in a deep throaty voice.

In fact, really, this movie had no redeeming qualities – the best part was the closing credits.

Madagascar : Escape 2 Africa  [Theatrical Release]


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Space Chimps

      A parental review of "Space Chimps"
             Review Type: Animated,Movies, Posted by:

Here’s what you need to know about Space Chimps: Parts of it are very funny – those are mostly the parts involving the three mission control geeks (humans). Parts of it are ok. And parts of it are really quite intense, even if in an animated sort of way.

See, there is this bad guy named Zartog on a distant planet. And he is really mean to the other inhabitants of the planet, all of whom are somewhere just below Smurfs on the insipidness scale, except for this character known as “Kilowatt”, who has the most annoying voice ever, and who is so annoyingly insipid that if a Smurf and a Teletubby mated, their offspring would still be less annoying and insipid. Kilowatt sacrifices herself to The Flesh Eating beast – which will probably traumatize young tikes, but make the parents cheer – until she comes back again (having escaped through the obvious exit).

Anyways back to Zartog. There are pools of liquid nitrogen on this planet (oh, they call it something else, but that didn’t fool me any), and the bad guy Zartog has a penchant for suddenly, without warning, grabbing one of the other inhabitants of the planet and dunking them into the pool, instantly killing and freezing them. (Actually, towards the very end of the movie, you realize they aren’t dead..they are just frozen – and can still move their eyes, and once the evil Zartog is himself frozen, everyone else is rescued and thawed, but there is no way to know that for most of the movie, so if this concerns you, you may want to explain to your child in advance that they aren’t actually dead, and will be ok at the end.)

If this isn’t enough to make you cringe, the rest of the story isn’t too bad. The three chimps get sent into space to travel through a wormhole to find out what happened to an unmanned space probe that had gotten lost to the wormhole earlier (what had happened was that the evil Zartog had commandeered it and was using it to dunk everyone in the liquid nitrogen and, oh yes, to build a Las Vegas-style compound for himself – don’t ask).

One of the chimps, Ham the 3rd, is the grandson of the famous space exploring chimp, Ham (the first) – Ham III is plucked from the circus to join two other chimps on the trip – and he really doesn’t want to be there. As you may imagine, when the movie isn’t focusing on Zartog freezing his neighbors, or the character with the voice that makes the hooker from Man with 2 Brains sound basso profundo, it focuses on Ham III’s crisis of conscience.

Would I recommend this movie? Well, all I can say is if you do go see it, warn your children that everything all works out in the end, and it will be a much nicer experience for all.

Space Chimps [Theatrical Release]


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Get Smart

      A Parental review of Get Smart
             Review Type: Live Action,Movies, Posted by:

Don’t be thrown off by the PG-13 rating, which some take to mean that a child under 13 could watch the movie with parental guidance. PG-13 actually means that some material may not be suitable for children under 13, and you should take this seriously.

Get Smart is chock-a-block full of violence, raging infernos, dead bodies and weapons galore.

That said, as an homage to the original Get Smart it’s not bad, and if you are a Steve Carrell fan, you’ll like it.

But it’s not for kids.

Get Smart [Theatrical Release]


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RV

      A Parental review of RV, starring Robin Williams
             Review Type: Live Action,Movies, Posted by:

RV had potential – Robin Williams and Jeff Daniels alone gave it potential – but the use of the word “turd” – continuously – throughout the movie, rendered it completely inappropriate and unwatchable.

It’s not that we are prudish – and if the word had been used once or twice, it would have been forgiveable – but seriously, the word is the star of the movie. It had more lines than nearly any other character – it upstaged Williams. The movie should have been called “Turd-V” – that’s how many times the word is said in this movie. And that kind of usage says to a child watching it “this word is ok.”

Which it isn’t. Not coming out of the mouth of a child (as it does frequently in the movie).

If you want a very similar “hapless dad takes family across country in an RV” movie, without the turds, try Beethoven’s 3rd instead (although be warned that there is an incident with a tranquilizer dart, some bumbling thieves, and an accidental kidnapping in that movie).

RV (Full Screen Edition)


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Kung Fu Panda

      A Parental Review of "Kung Fu Panda"
             Review Type: Animated,Movies, Posted by:

I went to see Kung Fu Panda on the off chance that it wouldn’t be as violent as I assumed it would be. This is very much the kind of movie that I go to see first, alone, to see if it’s appropriate for our son. And I’m so very glad that I did, because there isn’t a snowball’s chance that we would take him to see this movie.

It is every bit as violent as you might imagine. The plot is basically that the tubby, lazy son of the owner of a noodle restaurant dreams of being a Kung Fu expert, and is given his chance when the local Kung Fu master selects him as the ‘chosen one’ to deliver them from the town’s arch-villain who is just about to make a jail break. Much fighting ensues, the enemy is killed, the Kung Fu master dies.

If you must see this movie, get it on DVD and watch it yourself first, so you can at least know what you are in for, and skip (or at least discuss) the parts that you may not want your child exposed to.

Kung Fu Panda [Theatrical Release]


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